Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo—with a screenplay by Angela Russo-Otstot and Jessica Goldberg—Cherry stars Holland as an unnamed protagonist who serves in the U.S. military as a medic in the worst possible place during the worst possible time in the War in Iraq. When he returns, he’s dealing with extreme PTSD, an addiction to opioids, and a newfound hobby of armed robbery.
While the movie fielded poor reviews from critics—it currently has a 40 percent rating on the review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes—the book of the same that the script is based on received praise.
Here’s what to know about the Cherry true story, based on the life of author Nico Walker.
Is Cherry based on a true story? Inside Nico Walker’s life and book:
Yes. Cherry is loosely based on the real-life experiences of Nico Walker. Walker—who wrote the book the film is based on—drew from his background as a veteran and criminal to write his debut novel Cherry from prison. While technically a novel, and not an autobiography, Walker shares many traits with his book’s protagonist: a war hero who returned home from Iraq, suffered extreme PTSD, developed a drug addiction, and began robbing banks to fund it. He robbed 10 banks in Ohio—and nearly made it to 11—in just four months time.
Walker’s incredible true story was profiled in a 2013 BuzzFeed feature while Walker was serving an 11-year prison sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky. According to The New York Times, soon after that article was published, Walker got a letter from the co-owner of Tyrant Books, who urged him to turn his story into a book. So that’s exactly what Walker did.
“Some of it’s kind of ugly, but I didn’t really have a choice in the material,” Walker told The New York Times. “I didn’t want to romanticize it or exaggerate to make it more entertaining, I wanted to show it for what it really was.”
He secured a publishing deal at Knopf, a branch of Penguin Random House, and used money from his contract to pay off some of the $30,000 in restitution he owed to the banks he stole from. His book, when it was released, was met with critical praise. Soon after, the Russo brothers were attached to direct the film adaptation.
Where is Nico Walker now? Is Nico Walker still in prison?
According to a report from The Observer, Walker was released from prison early, in October 2019, to care for a terminally ill family member. He currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi, and is working on his second book.
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